The township will revisit sidewalk snow-clearing options, Wellesley councillors decided Tuesday night following a presentation from a resident.
Nancy Kennedy is looking for the township to take on more responsibility when it comes to keeping sidewalks clear in the winter.
She told councillors that after she moved to the area 12 years ago, almost five feet of her property was appropriated by the township for a sidewalk. Since then, there have been ongoing issues.
“Winter is not going away and it seems like we are constantly getting more snow every year. Our sidewalks on Parkview Drive meet the road and are almost impossible to keep clear of snow and ice because of cars driving over the sidewalks and, mainly, from the plows clearing the roads,” she explained.
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Kennedy brought a similar request to council about five years ago. She again pointed to the challenges of keeping the sidewalk clear, included the cost and physical demands of applying salt and sand.
“Many of us pay to have our driveways cleared. When this is done, the sidewalk portion at the bottom of the driveway is also cleared. Why should we pay to have the entire sidewalk cleared? Why should we pay to have someone clear our sidewalk if we go away for a night, or a week?” she asked council.
“It is my recommendation that the Township of Wellesley assume responsibility for snow clearing on all sidewalks,” Kennedy said.
“It’s particularly important to clear the sidewalks before the children go to their buses or school. Let’s make our sidewalks safe.”
In response Mayor Joe Nowak referenced a report that was given to council by staff on March 29 of this year. According to that report the township owns approximately 27 kilometres of municipal sidewalk and 2.5 km of multi-purpose trails along roadways. Some 11 kilometres of sidewalk is on right of ways owned by the region.
“The current practice of maintaining snow and ice on the municipal sidewalks in the Township of Wellesley, including those on regional rights of way, is that the landowner must clear the sidewalk,” the report stated.
The current budget for winter maintenance in the township is $150,000. The report presented several different options for additional maintenance, including one that would see township employees do the work and one to have it be contracted out. Staff also examined costs for clearing snow in the entire township and for Wellesley village only.
According to the report there would be initial cost of $200,000 for equipment and $150,000 budget for full township maintenance, while Wellelsey village would require the same start-up costs, the yearly price would be cheaper at $115,000.
For contractors to clear the snow there would be no initial start-up costs, but the yearly budget would be $180,000 for the entire township and $90,000 for just the village. Costs for any plan would be paid for by taxpayers.
While the March report was accepted as information at the time, the new council said they would examine it again.